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10 Home Staging Hacks to Maximize Selling Price

Nicole Babb
HGTV Canada

Getting ready to sell your home? You’ve probably hired an agent and considered an asking price, but how much thought have you put into staging your property? If the answer is little or none, it’s time to reconsider your approach.


Staging matters — even if you’re selling during a seller’s market. Studies have shown that staged homes sell faster and for an average of 25 per cent more than homes without staging. 

“It’s important to stage your home when you’re selling because you need to take out the personality,” says stager and stylist Nicole Babb, the co-host of HGTV Canada’s Styled. “People want to be able to envision themselves in the space and feel like they have the least work to do as possible.”

Babb explains that if a potential buyer sees a house that’s cluttered or disjointed, they’re likely to make a lower offer. The goal is to present a home that looks ready to move into so you can get your offer price — or higher.

Here, Babb offers expert advice on how to stage your property to receive the maximum selling price.

Moping the floor

Do a Deep Clean

Before you begin thinking about what to add during the staging phase, it’s essential to think about what you can take away. Do a deep clean and consider hiring cleaners to help with the job. Meanwhile, selling your home is a great excuse to declutter and toss or donate old and unused items.

“It’s a good time for owners to really decide what they want to bring to their next home,” Babb says. “There are so many people who are just starting out that don’t have a lot of money or resources. Some places like Habitat For Humanity are happy to take your old furniture or flooring if it’s in good condition and will give you a tax receipt.”

Related: 2024 Spring Cleaning – Tips, Tricks and Mistakes to Avoid


Remove Personal Items

Babb says it’s a good idea to remove personal items like photographs before letting potential buyers walk through your home. “Nobody should be able to identify who you are, your religion, or anything like that,” she says. “I’ve seen deals not go through based on religion.”

The pro also recommends removing any big personal or specific style items, such as dramatic drapes, which may work in your living space but might not suit someone else’s style.

a paint roller on a white surface

Cover Surface Areas

Walls and floors definitely factor in when showing off your property. If the floors are in rough shape or aren’t cohesive throughout, it may be worth your investment to replace them. 

“We usually recommend putting down laminate or vinyl quick,” Babb explains. “And if they can’t, then we use a lot of area rugs to cover the floor as much as possible and create zones.”

As for paint, Babb says you should go for a neutral colour throughout your home. Don’t forget a fresh coat of white paint on tired baseboards and trim. 

Related: Painting Starter Kit 101: Essential Tools You Need for Painting

Show People Where They Can Live

When listing your home, Babb says it’s super important to show people how they can use the space. That’s particularly true when staging smaller properties and condos, as potential buyers want to maximize their use of space.  

“Show people they have a space to sleep, a place to eat, and create distinctive zones,” Babb advises. “Something like a round table can double as a desk area, so be able to show that.”

hanging lights with succelents in the background

Add Lighting

Babb says a well-lit space is crucial to a successful sale, especially with some new builds where bedrooms might need lights. If you have a room without lights, consider getting an electrician to change that before listing. You can also add layers of light with lamps. 


“Always make sure the lights are on when you’re staging,” she adds. “I know your bill will be a little more that month, but you don’t want people looking around for light switches. Think of any showroom you visit or store — the lights are always on. It makes everything look better.”

Related: Our Favourite Ambient Lighting for a Windowless Room

Don’t Skip the Outdoor Space

Your outdoor space is an extension of your home, so don’t overlook it during the staging process. Ensure you keep lawns mowed and weeds plucked, and consider outdoor seating and dining options. If you have a balcony, grab inexpensive balcony tiles to hide the cement, or add a nice outdoor rug or runner across it that ties into the inside décor.

“Grey is just not nice to look at,” Babb says.

succulents on a table

Pick Up Some Greenery

When staging your home, should you buy fresh or fake plants? While Babb loves natural plants, she’s learned they aren’t practical. 

“They die,” she says. “For TV, we use real plants and flowers, and that’s nice to do during an open house. But if there’s nobody to water them, they will die, and it looks horrible.”

Instead, she says to pick fake plants with small foliage, which look more realistic than those with larger leaves. She says very low-maintenance plants, like succulents, can also work. 

Related: How to Rescue Dying Houseplants – Everything You Need to Know

Go for Neutral Furniture

Babb says it’s okay to use furniture you already have while staging, so long as it’s neutral. She says creams and whites can make a space feel bigger, so she typically goes for that look. 


“Add cushions and throw blankets to make the sofa look newer, fresher, more up-to-date,” she adds. 

As for the idea that smaller furniture makes a space appear larger? Babb says that’s not necessarily true. “I’ve seen a lot of bachelors where people don’t even put a sofa in because they think having none or having accent chairs instead makes it look bigger. But that’s not realistic. People want to at least lay down on a sofa.”

She says sellers can look for loft-style furniture or consider a sofa that doubles as a bed instead. 

bedroom with dark wall

Invest in New Bedding

If you’re on a tight budget and can only do minimal staging, Babb suggests considering new bedding. She notes that people often forget about pillows, but inexpensive pillows can go a long way in helping a primary bedroom feel inviting and polished. 

“I recommend crisp, fresh, clean bedding,” she says. “Get pillows that are the same size and uniform because if you have pillows that you’ve slept on for years, they just look old and worn — even with new bedding.”

Related: Don’t Make These 11 Mistakes When Buying Bedding

Add a Scent

How your home smells is another consideration during the staging process, so adding a candle to the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom can be beneficial (never leave lit candles unattended). Consider the scent wisely, though.

“I’ve never heard anybody say they don’t like vanilla,” Babb says, revealing her design firm, R&P Home, created a vanilla and tonka bean candle for staging purposes. “You don’t want to get too florally,” she adds. “I find citrus and vanilla good scents to have. And also, I don’t recommend trying to mask anything. It starts with a good clean and then add scent to the room beautifully with a nice, soft soy candle.

Bonus Tip: Hire a Pro

If your budget allows, hiring a professional stager can help you sell your home faster and enable you to focus on other tasks during this busy period. If you’ve lived in your home for a while, a professional can also help you to see your space in a new light. 


“If you’ve lived in your house for many years, that’s a good indication to call a pro because things are dated, and you have a lot of stuff,” Babb says. “Just having someone neutral come in and differentiate what is livable or stageable is valuable.”


Watch Styled Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada, available to stream Live or On-Demand with STACKTV. Try it free today!

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